The LAT has an article on the acrimony between Mike McConnell and Democrats over FISA. In it, McConnell’s backers insist in his good faith in his negotiations with Democrats.
A spokesman for McConnell said that the director’s dealings with Congress were "always in good faith."
"He values the relationship with Congress," said the spokesman, Michael Birmingham. "He works at it, and he invites and welcomes the oversight they provide."
"I think the fact that it was open and argumentative at times was very positive," said Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.). "I think he improved his relations [with the committee] just by communicating."
"I feel he’s an honorable person," Ruppersberger said. "Some of my peers feel he’s compromised. I would say that on the majority side, we were not happy with some of the positions he took."
But the article also lists the many attacks McConnell has made against Democrats. Apparently, in a secret meeting leading up to the House vote, Democrats aired those complaints. And McConnell responded by attacking HPSCI members for being insufficient cheerleaders for the Intelligence Community (I really do hope he attacked both parties equally, since Crazy Pete Hoekstra is one of the loudest critics of the Intelligence Community).
Democrats accused McConnell of making exaggerated claims and of doing the bidding of the Bush administration, according to officials who attended the event. McConnell bristled at the Democrats’ charges, and chastised members of the committee for failing to defend the intelligence community amid a barrage of bad press. [my emphasis]
Incidentally, can someone point out where in the Constitution it requires Congress to defend Executive Branch incompetence in the press? That McConnell would even make such a complaint reveals his rather stunted understanding of the role of Congress.
Given McConnell’s apparent attempt to make nice with Congress, though, I’m utterly mystified by the comments he made in a speech at his alma mater, Furman University in South Carolina, last Friday, about the negotiations with the Senate.
We had a bill go into the Senate. It was debated vigorously. There were some who said we shouldn’t have an Intelligence Community. Some have that point of view. Some say the President of the United States violated the process, spied on Americans, should be impeached and should go to jail. I mean, this is democracy, you can say anything you want to say. That was the argument made.